Thursday, December 27, 2012

Chicago Parking Meter Operator Sticks It To Motorists Again

Former Chicago Mayor Richard Daley should have been sent to prison instead of former Gov. Rod Blagojevich for strapping the Windy City with the 75-year lease of its parking meter assets to a company represented by the law firm for whom he now works. Chicago Parking Meters, LLC will stick motorists with its "annual ritual" of raising parking rates the Tribune reports. Rates for parking in the Loop will jump 75 cents next year to a whopping $6.50 per hour! Other neighborhoods near the Loop will see a quarter raise to $4 an hour, while rates elsewhere will jump a quarter to $2 an hour.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel is still feuding with the company over its demand that the City fork over an additional $61 million it claims it is owed under the 75-year lease for parking meters taken out of use for street repairs and special events or used by handicap drivers exempt from paying metered rates. While Emanuel has been highly critical of his predecessor's parking meter deal, he and the rubber stamp council demonstrated how little they've learned from that mistake after they rushed through a 20-year deal to sell space for more than 30 digital billboards along the City's freeways with the hope of raising $200 million in new revenues to avoid the need for raising taxes. Emanuel's billboard deal sailed through the council on a 43-6 vote after less than an hour of debate. Critics complain that the signs lead to an unsafe distraction for drivers not unlike texting or talking on cell phones while driving.

Emanuel inked an exclusive agreement with Interstate Outdoor Advertising and French firm JC Decaux. Interstate's executives donated more than $10,000 to Emanuel's campaign committee. JC Decaux won a sweetheart deal with the city under Mayor Daley to build bus shelters several years ago. The countdown to a similar proposal being offered in Indianapolis by Mayor Greg Ballard has now started.

1 comment:

Citizen Kane said...

Clear Channel has been working behind the scenes for the last year to obtain such a deal. Frankly, I thought they would have had been completed six months ago - not sure what happened. I'm sure that it will reemerge.